Beacon Lights of History, Volume IX
John Lord

Part 4 out of 4

thousand regular troops under the command of the pashas of Salonica and
Thessaly, who forced the passes of the Vale of Tempe, and slew all
before them. Chourchid Pasha, having his rear provided for, with thirty
thousand men now passed through the defile of Thermopylae, appeared
before Corinth, took its citadel, advanced to Argos, dispersed the
government which had established itself there, and then pursued his
victorious career to Napoli di Romania, whose garrison he reinforced.
But the summer sun dried up the surrounding plains; there was nothing
left on which his cavalry could feed, or his men either, and he found
himself in a perilous position in the midst of victory.

The defeated Greeks now rallied under Ypsilanti and Kolokotronis, who
raised the siege of Corinth, and advanced against their foes with twelve
thousand men. The Turkish army, decimated and in fear of starvation,
resolved to cut their way through the guarded defiles, and succeeded
only by the loss of seven thousand men, with all their baggage and
military stores. The Morea was delivered from the oppressor, and the
Turkish army of thirty thousand was destroyed. Chourchid Pasha was soon
after seized with dysentery, brought about by fatigue and anxiety, to
which he succumbed; and the ablest general yet sent against the Greeks
failed disastrously, to the joy of the nation.

This great success was followed by others. The Acropolis of Athens
capitulated to the victorious Greeks, not without the usual atrocities,
and Attica, was recovered. But the mountains of Epirus were still filled
with Turkish troops, who advanced to lay siege to Missolonghi, defended
by a small garrison of four hundred men under Marco Bozzaris.
Mavrokordatos contrived to come to his relief, and the town soon had
three thousand defenders. Six times did the Turks attempt an assault
under Omar Vrione; but each time they were repulsed with great
slaughter, and compelled to retreat. The Turkish general lost three
quarters of his army, and with difficulty escaped himself in an open
boat. Altogether twelve thousand Turks perished in this disastrous
siege, with the loss of their artillery.

As the insurrection had now assumed formidable proportions in Cyprus and
Candia, a general appeal was made to Mussulmans of those islands, whose
numbers greatly exceeded the rebels. Twenty-five thousand men rallied
around the standards of the Moslems; but they were driven into their
fortresses, leaving both plains and mountains in the hands of
the Greeks.

These brave insurgents gained still another great success in this
memorable campaign. They carried the important fortress of Napoli di
Romania by escalade December 12, under Kolokotronis, with ten thousand
men, and the garrison, weakened by famine, capitulated. Four hundred
pieces of cannon, with large stores of ammunition, were the reward of
the victors. This conquest was the more remarkable since a large Turkish
fleet was sent to the relief of the fortress; but fearing the fire-ships
of the Greeks, the Turkish admiral sailed away without doing anything,
and cast anchor in the bay of Tenedos. Here he was attacked by the Greek
fire-ships, commanded by Canaris, and his fleet were obliged to cut
their cables and sail back to the Dardanelles, with the loss of their
largest ships. The conqueror was crowned with laurel at Ipsara by his
grateful countrymen, and the campaign of 1822 closed, leaving the
Greeks masters of the sea and of nearly the whole of their territory.

This campaign, considering the inequality of forces, is regarded by
Alison as one of the most glorious in the annals of war. A population of
seven hundred thousand souls had confronted and beaten the splendid
strength of the Ottoman Empire, with twenty-five millions of Mussulmans.
They had destroyed four-fifths of an army of fifty thousand men, and
made themselves masters of their principal strongholds. Twice had they
driven the Turkish fleets from the Aegean Sea with the loss of their
finest ships. But Greece, during the two years' warfare, had lost two
hundred thousand inhabitants,--not slain in battle, but massacred, and
killed by various inhumanities. It was clear that the country could not
much longer bear such a strain, unless the great Powers of Europe came
to its relief.

But no relief came. Canning, who ruled England, sympathized with the
Greeks, but would not depart from his policy of non-intervention,
fearing to embroil all Europe in war. It was the same with Louis XVIII.,
who feared the stability of his throne and dared not offend Austria, who
looked on the contest with indifference as a rebellious insurrection.
Prussia took the same ground; and even Russia stood aloof, unprepared
for war with the Turks, which would have immediately resulted if the
Czar had rendered assistance to the Greeks. Never was a nation in
greater danger of annihilation, in spite of its glorious resistance,
than was Greece at that time, for what could the remaining five hundred
thousand people do against twenty-five millions inspired with fanatical
hatred, but to sell their lives as dearly as they might? The contest was
like that of the Maccabees against the overwhelming armies of Syria.

As was to be expected, the disgraceful defeat of his fleets and armies
filled the Sultan with rage and renewed resolution. The whole power of
his empire was now called out to suppress the rebellion. He had long
meditated the destruction of that famous military corps in the Turkish
service known as the Janizaries, who were not Turks, but recruited from
the youth of the Greeks and other subject races captured in war. They
had all become Mussulmans, and were superb fighters; but their insults
and insolence, engendered by their traditional pride in the prestige of
the corps and the favor shown them by successive Sultans, filled Mahmoud
with wrath. The Sultan dissembled his resentment, however, in order to
bring all the soldiers he could command to the utter destruction of his
rebellious subjects. He deposed his grand vizier, and sent orders to all
the pashas in his dominions for a general levy of all Mussulmans
between fifteen and fifty, to assemble in Thessaly in May, 1823. He also
made the utmost efforts to repair the disasters of his fleet.

The Greeks, too, made corresponding exertions to maintain their armies.
Though weakened, they were not despondent. Their successes had filled
them with new hopes and energies. Their independence seemed to them to
be established. They even began to despise their foes. But as soon as
success seemed to have crowned their efforts they were subject to a new
danger. There were divisions, strifes, and jealousies between the
chieftains. Unity, so essential in war, was seriously jeoparded. Had
they remained united, and buried their resentments and jealousies in the
cause of patriotism, their independence possibly might have been
acknowledged. But in the absence of a central power the various generals
wished to fight on their own account, like guerilla chiefs. They would
not even submit to the National Assembly. The leaders were so full of
discords and personal ambition that they would not unite on anything.
Mavrokordatos and Ypsilanti were not on speaking terms. One is naturally
astonished at such suicidal courses, but he forgets what a powerful
passion jealousy is in the human soul. It was not absent from our own
war of Independence, in which at one time rival generals would have
supplanted, if possible, even Washington himself; indeed, it is present
everywhere, not in war alone, but among all influential and ambitious
people,--women of society, legislators, artists, physicians, singers,
actors, even clergymen, authors, and professors in colleges. This
unfortunate passion can be kept down only by the overpowering dominancy
of transcendent ability, which everybody must concede, when envy is
turned into admiration,--as in the case of Napoleon. There was no one
chieftain among the Greeks who called out universal homage any more than
there was in the camp of Agamemnon before the walls of Troy. There were
men of ability and patriotism and virtue; but, as already noted, no one
of them was great enough to exact universal and willing obedience. And
this fact was well understood in all the cabinets of Europe, as well as
in the camps of their enemies. The disunions and dissensions of the
rival Greek generals were of more advantage to the Turks than a force of
fifty thousand men.

These jealous chieftains, however, had reason to be startled in the
spring of 1823, when they heard that eighty thousand Mussulmans were to
be sent to attack the Isthmus of Corinth; that forty thousand more were
to undertake the siege of Missolonghi; that fifty thousand in addition
were to co-operate in Thessaly and Attica; while a grand fleet of one
hundred and twenty sail was to sweep the Aegean and reduce the revolted
islands. It was, however, the very magnitude of the hostile forces which
saved the Greeks from impending ruin; for these forces had to be fed in
dried-up and devastated plains, under scorching suns, in the defiles of
mountains, where artillery was of no use, and where hardy mountaineers,
behind rocks and precipices, could fire upon them unseen and without
danger. There was more loss from famine and pestilence than from
foes,--a lesson repeatedly taught for three thousand years, but one
which governments have ever been slow to learn. Alexander the Great had
learned it when he invaded Persia with a small army of veterans, rather
than with a mob of undisciplined allies. Huge armies are not to be
relied on, except when they form a vast mechanism directed by a master
hand, when they are sure of their supplies, and when they operate in a
wholesome country, with nothing to fear from malaria or inclemency of
weather. Then they can crush all before them like some terrible and
irresistible machine; but only then. This the old crusaders learned to
their cost, as well as the invading armies of Napoleon amid the snows of
Russia, and even the disciplined troops of France and England when they
marched to the siege of Sebastopol.

Hence, in spite of the divisions of the Greeks, which paralyzed their
best efforts, the Turkish armies effected but little, great as were
their numbers, in the campaign of 1823. The intrepid Marco Bozzaris,
with only five thousand men, kept the Turks at bay in Epirus, and chased
a large body of Albanians to the sea; while Odysseus defended the pass
of Thermopylae, and prevented the advance of the Turks into Southern
Greece. The grand army destined for the invasion of the Morea gradually
melted away in attacking fortresses, and under the desultory actions of
guerilla bands amidst rocks and thickets. Bozzaris surprised a Turkish
army near Missolonghi by a nocturnal attack, and although he himself
bravely perished, the attack was successful. The Turks in renewed
numbers, however, advanced to the siege of Missolonghi; but they were
again repulsed with great slaughter.

The naval campaign from which so much was expected by the Sultan also
proved a failure. As usual the Greeks resorted to their fire-ships, not
being able openly to contend with superior forces, and drove the fleet
back again to the Dardanelles. When the sea was clear, they were able to
reinforce Missolonghi with three thousand men and a large supply of
provisions; for it was foreseen that the siege would be renewed.

It was at this time, when the Greek cause was imperilled by the
dissensions of the leading chieftains; when Greece indeed was threatened
by civil war, in addition to its contest with the Turks; when the whole
country was impoverished and devastated; when the population was melting
away, and no revenue could be raised to pay the half-starved and
half-naked troops,--that Lord Byron arrived at Missolonghi to share his
fortune with the defenders of an uncertain cause. Like most scholars and
poets, he had a sentimental attachment for the classic land,--the
teacher of the ancient world; and in common with his countrymen he
admired the noble struggles and sacrifices, worthy of ancient heroes,
which the Greeks, though divided and demoralized, had put forth to
recover their liberties. His money contributions were valuable; but it
was his moral support which accomplished the most for Grecian
independence. Though unpopular and maligned at this time in England for
his immoralities and haughty disdain, he was still the greatest poet of
his age, a peer, and a man of transcendent genius of whom any country
would be proud. That such a man, embittered and in broken health, should
throw his whole soul into the contest, with a disinterestedness which
was never questioned, shows not only that he had many noble traits, but
that his example would have great weight with enlightened nations, and
open their eyes to the necessity of rallying to the cause of liberty.
The faults of the Greeks were many; but these faults were such as would
naturally be produced by four hundred years of oppression and scorn, of
craft, treachery, and insensibility to suffering. As for their
jealousies and quarrels, when was there ever a time, even in periods of
their highest glory, when these were not their national characteristics?

Interest in the affairs of Greece now began to be awakened, especially
among the English; and the result was a loan of L800,000 raised in
London for the Greek government, at the rate of L59 for L100. Greece
really obtained only L280,000, while it contracted a debt of L800,000.
Yet this disadvantageous loan was of great service to an utterly
impoverished government, about to contend with the large armies of the
Turks. The Sultan had made immense preparations for the campaign of
1824, and had obtained the assistance of the celebrated Ibrahim Pasha,
adopted son of Mohammed Ali, Pasha of Egypt, who with his Egyptian
troops had nearly subdued Crete. Over one hundred thousand men were now
directed, by sea and land, to western Greece and Missolonghi, of which
twenty thousand were disciplined Egyptian troops. With this great force
the Mussulmans assumed the offensive, and the condition of Greece was
never more critical.

First, the islands of Spezzia and Ipsara were attacked,--the latter
being little more than a barren rock, but the abode of liberty. It was
poorly defended, and was unable to cope with the Turkish armada, having
on board fifteen thousand disciplined troops. Canaris advised a combat
on the sea, but was overruled; and the consequences were fatal. The
island was taken and sacked, and all the inhabitants were put to the
sword. In addition to this great calamity, the spoil made by the victors
was immense, including two hundred pieces of artillery and ninety
vessels. Canaris, however, contrived to escape in a boat, to pursue a
victorious career with his fire-ships. The Turkish and Egyptian fleets
had effected a junction, consisting of one ship-of-the-line, twenty-five
frigates, twenty-five corvettes, fifty brigs and schooners, and two
hundred and forty transports, carrying eighty thousand soldiers and
sailors and twenty-five hundred cannon. To oppose this great armament,
the Greek admiral Miaulis had only seventy sail, manned by five thousand
sailors and carrying eight hundred guns. In spite however of this
disproportion of forces he advanced to meet the enemy, and dispersed it
with a great Turkish loss of fifteen thousand men. All that the Turks
had gained was a barren island.

On the land the Turks had more successes; but these were so indecisive
that they did not attempt to renew the siege of Missolonghi, and the
campaign of 1824 closed with a great loss to the Mussulmans. The little
army and fleet of the Greeks had repelled one hundred and twenty
thousand soldiers confident of success; but the population was now
reduced to less than five hundred thousand, becoming feebler every day,
and the national treasury was empty, while the whole country was a scene
of desolation and misery. And yet, strange to say, the Greeks continued
their dissensions while on the very brink of ruin. Stranger still, their
courage was unabated.

The year 1825 opened with brighter prospects. The rival chieftains, in
view of the desperate state of affairs, at last united, and seemingly
buried their jealousies. A new loan was contracted in London of
L2,000,000, and the naval forces were increased.

But the Turks also made their preparations for a renewed conflict, and
Ibrahim Pasha felt himself strong enough to undertake the siege of
Navarino, which fell into his hands after a brave resistance. Tripolitza
also capitulated to the Egyptian, and the Morea was occupied by his
troops after several engagements. After this the Greeks never ventured
to fight in the open field, but only in guerilla bands, in mountain
passes, and behind fortifications.

Then began the memorable siege of Missolonghi under Reschid Pasha. It
was probably the strongest town in Greece,--by reason not of its
fortifications but of the surrounding marshes and lagoons which made it
inaccessible. Into this town the armed peasantry threw themselves, with
five thousand troops under Niketas, while Miaulis with his fleet raised
the blockade by sea and supplied the town with provisions. Reschid Pasha
determined on an assault, but was driven back. Thrice he advanced with
his troops, only to be repulsed. His forces at the end of October were
reduced to three thousand men. The Sultan, irritated by successive
disasters, brought the whole disposable force of his empire to bear on
the doomed city. Ibrahim, powerfully reinforced with twenty-five
thousand men, by sea and land stormed battery after battery; yet the
Greeks held out, contending with famine and pestilence, as well as with
troops ten times their number.

At last they were unable to offer further resistance, and they resolved
on a general sortie to break through the enemy's line to a place of
safety. The women of the town put on male attire, and armed themselves
with pistols and daggers. The whole population,--men, women, and
children,--on the night of the 22d of April, 1826, issued from their
defences, crossed the moat in silence, passed the ditches and trenches,
and made their way through an opening of the besiegers' lines. For a
while the sortie seemed to be successful; but mistakes were made, a
panic ensued, and most of the flying crowd retreated back to the
deserted town, only to be massacred by Turkish scimitars. Some made
their escape. A column of nearly two thousand, after incredible
hardships, succeeded in reaching Salonica in safety; but Missolonghi
fell, with the loss of nearly ten thousand, killed, wounded, and

It was a great disaster, but proved in the end the foundation of Greek
independence, by creating a general burst of blended enthusiasm and
indignation throughout Europe. The heroic defence of this stronghold
against such overwhelming forces opened the eyes of European statesmen.
Public sentiment in England in favor of the struggling nation could no
longer be disregarded. Mr. Canning took up the cause, both from
enthusiasm and policy. The English ambassador at Constantinople had a
secret interview with Mavrokordatos on an island near Hydra, and
promised him the intervention of England. The death of the Czar
Alexander gave a new aspect to affairs; for his successor, Nicholas,
made up his mind to raise his standard in Turkey. The national voice of
Russia was now for war. The Duke of Wellington was sent to St.
Petersburg, nominally to congratulate the Czar on his accession, but
really to arrange for an armed intervention for the protection of
Greece. The Hellenic government ordered a general conscription; for
Ibrahim Pasha was organizing new forces for the subjection of the Morea
and the reduction of Napoli di Romania and Hydra, while a powerful
fleet put to sea from Alexandria. No sooner did this fleet appear,
however, than Canaris and Miaulis attacked it with their dreaded
fire-ships, and the forty ships of Egypt fled from fourteen small Greek
vessels, and re-entered the Dardanelles. But the Turks, always more
fortunate on land than by sea, pressed now the siege of the Acropolis,
and Athens fell into their hands early in 1827.

For six or seven years the Greeks had struggled heroically; but relief
was now at hand. Russia and England signed a protocol on the 6th of
July, and France soon after joined, to put an end to the sanguinary
contest. The terms proposed to the Sultan by the three great Powers were
moderate,--that he should still retain a nominal sovereignty over the
revolted provinces and receive an annual tribute; but the haughty and
exasperated Sultan indignantly rejected them, and made renewed
preparations to continue the contest. Ibrahim landed his forces on the
Morea and renewed his depredations. Once more the ambassadors of the
allied Powers presented their final note to the Turkish government, and
again it was insultingly disregarded. The allied admirals then entered
the port of Navarino, where the Turkish and Egyptian fleets were at
anchor, with ten ships-of-the-line, ten frigates, with other vessels,
altogether carrying thirteen hundred and twenty-four guns. The Ottoman
force consisted of seventy-nine vessels, armed with twenty-two hundred
and forty guns. Strict orders were given not to fire while negotiations
were going on; but an accidental shot from a Turkish vessel brought on a
general action, and the combined Turkish and Egyptian fleet was
literally annihilated Oct. 20, 1827. This was the greatest disaster
which the Ottoman Turks had yet experienced; indeed, it practically
ended the whole contest. Christendom at last had come to the rescue,
when Greece unaided was incapable of further resistance.

The battle of Navarino excited, of course, the wildest enthusiasm
throughout Greece, and a corresponding joy throughout Europe. Never
since the battle of Lepanto was there such a general exultation among
Christian nations. This single battle decided the fate of Greece. The
admirals of the allied fleet were doubtless "the aggressors in the
battle; but the Turks were the aggressors in the war."

Canning of England did not live to enjoy the triumph of the cause which
he had come to have so much at heart. He was the inspiring genius who
induced both Russia and France (now under Charles X.) to intervene.
Chateaubriand, the minister of Charles X., was in perfect accord with
Canning from poetical and sentimental reasons. Politically his policy
was that of Metternich, who could see no distinction between the
insurrection of Naples and that of Greece. In the great Austrian's eyes,
all people alike who aspired to gain popular liberty or constitutional
government were rebels to be crushed. Canning, however, sympathized in
his latter days with all people striving for independence, whether in
South America or Greece. But his opinion was not shared by English
statesmen of the Tory school, and he had the greatest difficulty in
bringing his colleagues over to his views. When he died, England again
relapsed into neutrality and inaction, under the government of
Wellington. Charles X. in France had no natural liking for the Greek
cause, and wanted only to be undisturbed in his schemes of despotism.
Russia, under Nicholas, determined to fight Turkey, unfettered by
allies. She sought but a pretext for a declaration of war. Turkey
furnished to Russia that pretext, right in the stress of her own
military weakness, when she was exhausted by a war of seven years, and
by the destruction of the Janizaries,--which the Sultan had long
meditated, and concealed in his own bosom with the craft which formed
one of the peculiarities of this cruel yet able sovereign, but which he
finally executed with characteristic savagery. Concerning this Russian
war we shall speak presently.

The battle of Navarino, although it made the restoration of the Turkish
power impossible in Greece, still left Ibrahim master of the fortresses,
and it was two years before the Turkish troops were finally expelled.
But independence was now assured, and the Greeks set about establishing
their government with some permanency. Before the end of that year Capo
d'Istrias was elected president for seven years, and in January, 1828,
he entered upon his office. His ideas of government were arbitrary, for
he had been the minister and favorite of Alexander. He wished to rule
like an absolute sovereign. His short reign was a sort of dictatorship.
His council was composed entirely of his creatures, and he sought at
once to destroy provincial and municipal authority. He limited the
freedom of the Press and violated the secrecy of the mails. "In Plato's
home, Plato's Gorgias could not be read because it spoke too strongly
against tyrants."

Capo d'Istrias found it hard to organize and govern amid the hostilities
of rival chieftains and the general anarchy which prevailed. Local
self-government lay at the root of Greek nationality; but this he
ignored, and set himself to organize an administrative system modelled
after that of France during the reign of Napoleon. Intellectually he
stood at the head of the nation, and was a man of great integrity of
character, as austere and upright as Guizot, having no toleration for
freebooters and peculators. He became unpopular among the sailors and
merchants, who had been so effective in the warfare with the Turks. "A
dark shadow fell over his government" as it became more harsh and
intolerant, and he was assassinated the 9th of October, 1831.

The allied sovereigns who had taken the Greeks under their protection
now felt the need of a stronger and more stable government for them than
a republic, and determined to establish an hereditary but constitutional
monarchy. The crown was offered to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, who at
first accepted it; but when that prince began to look into the real
state of the country,--curtailed in its limits by the jealousies of the
English government, rent with anarchy and dissension, containing a
people so long enslaved that they could not make orderly use of
freedom,--he declined the proffered crown. It was then (1832) offered to
and accepted by Prince Otho of Bavaria, a minor; and thirty-five hundred
Bavarian soldiers maintained order during the three years of the
regency, which, though it developed great activity, was divided in
itself, and conspiracies took place to overthrow it. The year 1835 saw
the majority of the king, who then assumed the government. In the same
year the capital was transferred to Athens, which was nothing but a heap
of rubbish; but the city soon after had a university, and also became
an important port. In 1843, after a military revolution against the
German elements of Otho's government, which had increased from year to
year, the Greeks obtained from the king a representative constitution,
to which he took an oath in 1844.

But the limits of the kingdom were small, and neither Crete, Thessaly,
Epirus, nor the Ionian Islands were included in it. In 1846 these
islands were ceded by Great Britain to Greece, which was also
strengthened by the annexation of Thessaly. Since then the progress of
the country in material wealth and in education has been rapid. Otho
reigned till 1862, although amid occasional outbreaks of impatience and
revolt against the reactionary tendencies of his rule. In that year he
fled with his queen from a formidable uprising; and in 1863 Prince
William, son of Christian IX. King of Denmark, was elected monarch,
under the title of George I. King of the Hellenes.

The resurrection of Greece was thus finally effected. It was added to
the European kingdoms, and now bids fair to be prosperous and happy.
"Thus did the Old Hellas rise from the grave of nations. Scorched by
fire, riddled by shot, baptized by blood, she emerged victorious from
the conflict. She achieved her independence because she proved herself
worthy of it; she was trained to manhood in the only school of real
improvement,--the school of suffering."

The Greek revolution has another aspect than battles on the Morea,
massacres on the islands of the Archipelago, naval enterprises under
heroic seamen, guerilla conflicts amid the defiles of mountains, brave
defences of fortresses, dissensions and jealousies between chieftains,
treacheries and cruelties equalling those of the Turks,--another aspect
than the recovery of national independence even. It is memorable for the
complications which grew out of it, especially for the war between
Turkey and Russia, when the Emperor Nicholas, feeling that Turkey was
weakened and exhausted, sought to grasp the prize which he had long
coveted, even the possessions of the "sick man." Nicholas was the
opposite of his brother Alexander, having neither his gentleness, his
impulsiveness, his generosity, nor his indecision. He was a hard despot
of the "blood-and-iron" stamp, ambitious for aggrandizement, indifferent
to the sufferings of others, and withal a religious bigot. The Greek
rebellion, as we have seen, gave him the occasion to pick a quarrel with
the Sultan. The Danubian principalities were dearer to him than remote
possessions on the Mediterranean.

So on the 7th of May, 1828, the Russians crossed the Pruth and invaded
Moldavia and Wallachia,--provinces which had long belonged to Turkey by
right of conquest, though governed by Greek hospodars. The Danube was
crossed on the 7th of June. The Turks were in no condition to contend in
the open field with seventy thousand Russians, and they retreated to
their fortresses,--to Ibraila and Silistria on the Danube, to Varna and
Shumla in the vicinity of the Balkans. The first few weeks of the war
were marked by Russian successes. Ibraila capitulated on the 18th of
June, and the military posts on the Dobrudscha fell rapidly one after
another. But it was at Shumla that the strongest part of the Turkish
army was concentrated, under Omar Brionis, bent on defensive operations;
and thither the Czar directed his main attack. Before this stronghold
his army wasted away by sickness in the malarial month of September. The
Turks were reinforced, and moved to the relief of Varna, also invested
by Russian troops. But the season was now too far advanced for military
operations, and the Russians, after enormous losses, withdrew to the
Danube to resume the offensive the following spring. The winter was
spent in bringing up reserves. The Czar finding that he had no aptitude
as a general withdrew to his capital, intrusting the direction of the
following campaign to Diebitsch, a Prussian general, famous for his
successes and his cruelties.

In the spring of 1829 the first movement was made to seize Silistria,
toward which a great Turkish force was advancing, under Reschid Pasha,
the grand vizier. His forces experienced a great defeat; and two weeks
after, in the latter part of June, Silistria surrendered. Resistance to
the Russians was now difficult. The passes of the Balkans were left
undefended, and the invading force easily penetrated them and advanced
to Adrianople, which surrendered in a great panic. The Russians could
have been defeated had not the Turks lost their senses, for the troops
under Diebitsch were reduced to twenty thousand men. But this fact was
unknown to the Turks, who magnified the Russian forces to one hundred
thousand at least. The result was the treaty of Adrianople, on the 14th
of September,--apparently generous to the Turks, but really of great
advantage to the Russians. Russia restored to Turkey all her conquests
in Europe and Asia, except a few commercial centres on the Black Sea,
while the treaty gave to the Czar the protectorate over the Danubian
principalities, the exclusion of Turks from fortified posts on the left
bank of the Danube, free passage through the Dardanelles to the merchant
vessels of all nations at peace with the Sultan, and the free navigation
of the Black Sea.

But Constantinople still remained the capital of Turkey. The "sick man"
would not die. From jealousy of Russia the western Powers continued to
nurse him. Without their aid he was not long to live; but his existence
was deemed necessary to maintain the "balance of power," and they came
to his assistance in the Crimean War, twenty-six years later, and gave
him a new lease of life.

This is the "Eastern Question,"--How long before the Turks will be
driven out of Europe, and who shall possess Constantinople? That is a
question upon which it would be idle for me to offer speculations.
Another aspect of the question is, How far shall Russia be permitted to
make conquests in the East? This is equally insoluble.


Finlay's Greece under Ottoman Domination; Leake's Travels in Northern
Greece; Gordon's Greek Revolution; Metternich's Memoirs; Howe's Greek
Revolution; Mendelssohn's Graf Capo d'Istrias; Ann. Hist. Valentini;
Alison's Europe; Fyffe's History of Modern Europe; Mueller's Political
History of Recent Times.




A new phase in the development of French revolutionary history took
place on the accession of Louis Philippe to the throne. He became King
of the French instead of King of France.

Louis XVIII., upon his coming to the throne at Napoleon's downfall,
would not consent to reign except by divine right, on principles of
legitimacy, as the brother of Louis XVI. He felt that the throne was his
by all the laws of succession. He would not, therefore, accept it as the
gift of the French nation, or of foreign Powers. He consented to be
fettered by a Constitution, as his brother had done; but that any power
could legally give to him what he deemed was already his own, was in his
eyes an absurdity.

This was not the case with Louis Philippe, for he was not the legitimate
heir. He belonged to a younger branch of the Bourbons, and could not be
the legitimate king until all the male heirs of the elder branch were
extinct; and yet both branches of the royal family were the lineal
descendants of Henry IV. This circumstance pointed him out as the proper
person to ascend the throne on the expulsion of the elder branch; but he
was virtually an elective sovereign, chosen by the will of the nation.
So he became king, not "by divine right," but by receiving the throne as
the gift of the people.

There were other reasons why Louis Philippe was raised to the throne. He
was Duke of Orleans,--the richest man in France, son of that Egalite
who took part in the revolution, avowing all its principles; therefore
he was supposed to be liberal in his sentiments. The popular leaders who
expelled Charles X., among the rest Lafayette,--that idol of the United
States, that "Grandison Cromwell," as Carlyle called him,--viewed the
Duke of Orleans as the most available person to preserve order and law,
to gain the confidence of the country, and to preserve the
Constitution,--which guaranteed personal liberty, the freedom of the
Press, the inviolability of the judiciary, and the rights of electors to
the Chamber of Deputies, in which was vested the power of granting
supplies to the executive government. Times were not ripe for a
republic, and only a few radicals wanted it. The nation desired a
settled government, yet one ruling by the laws which the nation had
decreed through its representatives. Louis Philippe swore to everything
that was demanded of him, and was in all respects a constitutional
monarch, under whom the French expected all the rights and liberties
that England enjoyed. All this was a step in advance of the monarchy of
Louis XVIII. Louis Philippe was rightly named "the citizen king."

This monarch was also a wise, popular, and talented man. He had passed
through great vicissitudes of fortune. At one time he taught a school in
Switzerland. He was an exile and a wanderer from country to country. He
had learned much from his misfortunes; he had had great experiences, and
was well read in the history of thrones and empires. He was affable in
his manners, and interesting in conversation; a polished gentleman, with
considerable native ability,--the intellectual equal of the statesmen
who surrounded him. His morals were unstained, and his tastes were
domestic. His happiest hours were spent in the bosom of his family; and
his family was harmonious and respectable. He was the idol of the middle
class; bankers, merchants, lawyers, and wealthy shopkeepers were his
strongest supporters. All classes acquiesced in the rule of a worthy
man, as he seemed to all,--moderate, peace-loving, benignant,
good-natured. They did not see that he was selfish, crafty,
money-loving, bound up in family interests. This plain-looking,
respectable, middle-aged man, as he walked under the colonnade of the
Rue de Rivoli, with an umbrella under his arm, looked more like a plain
citizen than a king. The leading journals were all won over to his side.
The Chamber of Deputies by a large majority voted for him, and the
eighty-three Departments, representing thirty-five millions of people,
by a still larger majority elected him king. The two Chambers prepared a
Constitution, which he unhesitatingly accepted and swore to maintain. He
was not chosen by universal suffrage, but by one hundred and fifty
thousand voters. The Republicans were not satisfied, but submitted; so
also did the ultra-Royalists. It was at first feared that the allied
Powers, under the influence of Metternich, would be unfriendly; yet one
after another recognized the new government, feeling that it was the
best, under the circumstances, that could be established.

The man who had the most to do with the elevation of Louis Philippe was
the Marquis de Lafayette, who as far back as the first revolution was
the commander of the National Guards; and they, as the representatives
of the middle classes, sustained the throne during this reign. Lafayette
had won a great reputation for his magnanimous and chivalrous assistance
to the United States, when, at twenty years of age, he escaped from
official hindrances at home and tendered his unpaid voluntary services
to Washington. This was in the darkest period of the American
Revolution, when Washington had a pitifully small army, and when the
American treasury was empty. Lafayette was the friend and admirer of
Washington, whose whole confidence he possessed; and he not only
performed distinguished military duty, but within a year returned to
France and secured a French fleet, land forces, clothing and ammunition
for the struggling patriots, as the result of French recognition of
American independence, and of a treaty of alliance with the new American
nation,--both largely due to his efforts and influence.

When Lafayette departed, on his return to France, he was laden with
honors and with the lasting gratitude of the American people. He
returned burning with enthusiasm for liberty, and for American
institutions; and this passion for liberty was never quenched, under
whatever form of government existed in France. He was from first to last
the consistent friend of struggling patriots,--sincere, honest,
incorruptible, with horror of revolutionary excesses, as sentimental as
Lamartine, yet as firm as Carnot.

Lafayette took an active part in the popular movements in 1787, and in
1789 formed the National Guard and gave it the tricolor badge. But he
was too consistent and steady-minded for the times. He was not liked by
extreme Royalists or by extreme Republicans. He was denounced by both
parties, and had to flee the country to save his life. Driven from Paris
by the excesses of the Reign of Terror, which he abhorred, he fell into
the hands of the Prussians, who delivered him to the Austrians, and by
them he was immured in a dungeon at Olmutz for three and a half years,
being finally released only by the influence of Napoleon. So rigorous
was his captivity that none of his family or friends knew for two years
where he was confined. On his return from Austria, he lived in
comparative retirement at La Grange, his country-seat, and took no part
in the government of Napoleon, whom he regarded as a traitor to the
cause of liberty. Nor did he enter the service of the Bourbons, knowing
their settled hostility to free institutions. History says but little
about him during this time, except that from 1818 to 1824 he was a
member of the Chamber of Deputies, and in 1825 to 1830 was again
prominent in the legislative opposition to the royal government. In 1830
again, as an old man, he reappeared as commander-in-chief of the
National Guards, when Charles X. was forced to abdicate. Lafayette now
became the most popular man in France, and from him largely emanated the
influences which replaced Charles X. with Louis Philippe. He was not a
man of great abilities, but was generally respected as an honest man.
He was most marked for practical sagacity and love of constitutional
liberty. The phrase, "a monarchical government surrounded with
republican institutions," is ascribed to him,--an illogical expression,
which called out the sneers of Carlyle, whose sympathies were with
strong governments and with the men who can rule, and who therefore, as
he thought, ought to rule.

Lafayette was doubtless played with and used by Louis Philippe, the most
astute and crafty of monarchs. Professing the greatest love and esteem
for the general who had elevated him, the king was glad to get rid of
him; so, too, were the Chambers,--the former from jealousy of his
popularity, and the latter from dislike of his independence and
integrity. Under Louis Philippe he held no higher position than as a
member of the Chamber of Deputies. As deputy he had always been and
continued to be fearless, patriotic, and sometimes eloquent. His
speeches were clear, unimpassioned, sensible, and he was always listened
to with respect. He took great interest in the wrongs of all oppressed
people; and exiles from Poland, from Spain, and from Italy found in him
a generous protector. His house was famous for its unpretending
hospitalities, especially to American travellers. He lived long enough
to see the complete triumph of American institutions. In 1824, upon a
formal invitation by Congress, he revisited the United States as the
guest of the nation, and received unprecedented ovations wherever he
went,--a tribute of the heart, such as only great benefactors enjoy,
when envy gives place to gratitude and admiration. A great man he was
not, in the ordinary sense of greatness; yet few men will live as long
as he in the national hearts of two nations, for character if not for
genius, for services if not for brilliant achievements.

The first business of the new monarch in 1830 was to choose his
ministers, and he selected as premier Lafitte the banker, a prominent
member of the Chamber of Deputies, who had had great influence in
calling him to the throne. Lafitte belonged to the liberal party, and
was next to Lafayette the most popular man in France, but superior to
that statesman in intellect and executive ability. He lived in grand
style, and his palace, with its courts and gardens, was the resort of
the most distinguished men in France,--the Duke of Choiseul, Dupin,
Beranger, Casimir Perier, Montalivet, the two Aragos, Guizot, Odillon
Barrot, Villemain,--politicians, artists, and men of letters. His
ministry, however, lasted less than a year. The vast increase in the
public expenditure aroused a storm of popular indignation. The increase
of taxation is always resented by the middle classes, and by this
measure Lafitte lost his popularity. Moreover, the public disorders
lessened the authority of the government. In March, 1831, the king found
it expedient to dismiss Lafitte, and to appoint Casimir Perier, an abler
man, to succeed him. Lafitte was not great enough for the exigencies of
the times. His business was to make money, and it was his pleasure to
spend it; but he was unable to repress the discontents of Paris, or to
control the French revolutionary ideas, which were spreading over the
whole Continent, especially in Belgium, in which a revolution took
place, accompanied by a separation from Holland. Belgium was erected
into an independent kingdom, under a constitutional government. Prince
Leopold, of Saxe Coburg, having refused the crown of Greece, was elected
king, and shortly after married a daughter of Louis Philippe; which
marriage, of course, led to a close union between France and Belgium. In
this marriage the dynastic ambition of Louis Philippe, which was one of
the main causes of his subsequent downfall in 1848, became obvious. But
he had craft enough to hide his ambition under the guise of zeal for
constitutional liberty.

Casimir Perier was a man of great energy, and liberal in his political
antecedents, a banker of immense wealth and great force of character,
reproachless in his integrity. He had scarcely assumed office when he
was called upon to enforce a very rigorous policy. France was in a
distracted state, not so much from political agitation as from the
discontent engendered by poverty, and by the difficulty of finding work
for operatives,--a state not unlike that of England before the passage
of the Reform Bill. According to Louis Blanc the public distress was
appalling, united with disgusting immorality among the laboring classes
in country districts and in great manufacturing centres. In consequence
there were alarming riots at Lyons and other cities. The people were
literally starving, and it required great resolution and firmness on the
part of government to quiet the disorders. Lyons was in the hands of a
mob, and Marshal Soult was promptly sent with forty thousand regular
troops to restore order. And this public distress,--when laborers earned
less than a shilling a day, and when the unemployed exceeded in number
those who found work on a wretched pittance,--was at its height when the
Chamber of Deputies decreed a civil list for the king to the amount of
nearly nineteen millions of francs, thirty-seven times greater than that
given to Napoleon as First Consul; and this, too, when the king's
private income was six millions of francs a year.

Such was the disordered state of the country that the prime minister,
whose general policy was that of peace, sent a military expedition to
Ancona, in the Papal territories, merely to divert the public mind from
the disorders which reigned throughout the land. Indeed, the earlier
years of the reign of Louis Philippe were so beset with difficulties
that it required extraordinary tact, prudence, and energy to govern at
all. But the king was equal to the emergency. He showed courage and good
sense, and preserved his throne. At the same time, while he suppressed
disorders by vigorous measures, he took care to strengthen his power. He
was in harmony with the Chamber of Deputies, composed almost entirely of
rich men. The liberal party demanded an extension of the suffrage, to
which he gracefully yielded; and the number of electors was raised to
one hundred and eighty thousand, but extended only to those who paid a
direct tax of two hundred francs. A bill was also passed in the Chamber
of Deputies abolishing hereditary peerage, though opposed by Guizot,
Thiers, and Berryer. Of course the opposition in the upper house was
great, and thirty-six new peers were created to carry the measure.

The year 1832 was marked by the ravages of the cholera, which swept away
twenty thousand people in Paris alone, and among them Casimir Perier,
and Cuvier the pride of the scientific world.

But Louis Philippe was not yet firmly established on his throne. His
ministers had suppressed disorders, seized two hundred journals,
abolished hereditary peerage, extended the electoral suffrage, while he
had married his daughter to the King of Belgium. He now began to
consolidate his power by increasing the army, seeking alliances with the
different powers of Europe, bribing the Press, and enriching his
subordinates. Taxation was necessarily increased; yet renewed prosperity
from the increase of industries removed discontents, which arise not
from the excess of burdens, but from a sense of injustice. Now began the
millennium of shopkeepers and bankers, all of whom supported the throne.
The Chamber of Deputies granted the government all the money it wanted,
which was lavishly spent in every form of corruption, and luxury again
set in. Never were the shops more brilliant, or equipages more gorgeous.
The king on his accession had removed from the palace which Cardinal
Mazarin had bequeathed to Louis XIV., and took up his residence at the
Tuileries; and though his own manners were plain, he surrounded himself
with all the pomp of royalty, but not with the old courtiers of Charles
X. Marshal Soult greatly distinguished himself in suppressing disorders,
especially a second riot in Lyons. To add to the public disorders, the
Duchess of Berri made a hostile descent on France with the vain hope of
restoring the elder branch of the Bourbons. This unsuccessful movement
was easily put down, and the discredited princess was arrested and
imprisoned. Meanwhile the popular discontents continued, and a fresh
insurrection broke out in Paris, headed by Republican chieftains. The
Republicans were disappointed, and disliked the vigor of the government,
which gave indications of a sterner rule than that of Charles X.
Moreover, the laboring classes found themselves unemployed. The
government of Louis Philippe was not for them, but for the bourgeois
party, shop-keepers, bankers, and merchants. The funeral of General
Lamarque, a popular favorite, was made the occasion of fresh
disturbances, which at one time were quite serious. The old cry of _Vive
la Republique_ began to be heard from thousands of voices in the scenes
of former insurrections. Revolt assumed form. A mysterious meeting was
held at Lafitte's, when the dethronement of the king was discussed. The
mob was already in possession of one of the principal quarters of the
city. The authorities were greatly alarmed, but they had taken vigorous
measures. There were eighteen thousand regular troops under arms with
eighty pieces of cannon, and thirty thousand more in the environs,
besides the National Guards. What could the students of the Polytechnic
School and an undisciplined mob do against these armed troops? In vain
their cries of _Vive la Liberte; a bas Louis Philippe!_ The military
school was closed, and the leading journals of the Republican party were
seized. Marshal Soult found himself on the 7th of June, 1832, at the
head of sixty thousand regular troops and twenty thousand National
Guards. The insurgents, who had erected barricades, were driven back
after a fierce fight at the Cloister of St. Meri. This bloody triumph
closed the insurrection. The throne of the citizen king was saved by the
courage and discipline of the regular troops under a consummate general.
The throne of Charles X. could not have stood a day in face of such an

The next day after the defeat of the insurgents Paris was proclaimed in
a state of siege, in spite of the remonstrances of all parties against
it as an unnecessary act; but the king was firm and indignant, and
ordered the arrest of both Democrats and Legitimists, including
Garnier-Pages and Chateaubriand himself. He made war on the Press.
During his reign of two years two hundred and eighty-one journals were
seized, and fines imposed to nearly the amount of four hundred
thousand francs.

The suppression of revolts in both Paris and Lyons did much to
strengthen the government, and the result was an increase of public
prosperity. Capital reappeared from its hiding-places, and industry
renewed its labors. The public funds rose six per cent. The first dawn
of the welfare of the laboring classes rose on their defeat.

For his great services in establishing a firm government Marshal Soult
was made prime minister, with De Broglie, Guizot, and Thiers among his
associates. The chief event which marked his administration was a war
with Holland, followed by the celebrated siege of Antwerp, which the
Hollanders occupied with a large body of troops. England joined with
France in this contest, which threatened to bring on a general European
war; but the successful capture of the citadel of Antwerp, after a
gallant defence, prevented that catastrophe. This successful siege
vastly increased the military prestige of France, and brought Belgium
completely under French influence.

The remaining events which marked the ministry of Marshal Soult were the
project of fortifying Paris by a series of detached forts of great
strength, entirely surrounding the city, the liberal expenditure of
money for public improvements, and the maintenance of the colony of
Algeria. The first measure was postponed on account of the violent
opposition of the Republicans, and the second was carried out with
popular favor through the influence of Thiers. The Arc de l'Etoile was
finished at an expense of two million francs; the Church of the
Madeleine, at a cost of nearly three millions; the Pantheon, of
1,400,000; the Museum of Natural History, for which 2,400,000 francs
were appropriated; the Church of St. Denis, 1,350,000; the Ecole des
Beaux Arts, 1,900,000; the Hotel du Quay d'Orsay, 3,450,000; besides
other improvements, the chief of which was in canals, for which
forty-four millions of francs were appropriated,--altogether nearly one
hundred millions of francs, which of course furnished employment for
discontented laborers. The retention of the Colony of Algeria resulted
in improving the military strength of France, especially by the
institution of the corps of Zouaves, which afterward furnished effective
soldiers. It was in Africa that the ablest generals of Louis Napoleon
were trained for the Crimean War.

In 1834 Marshal Soult retired from the ministry, and a series of prime
ministers rapidly succeeded one another, some of whom were able and of
high character, but no one of whom made any great historical mark, until
Thiers took the helm of government in 1836,--not like a modern English
prime minister, who is supreme so long as he is supported by Parliament,
but rather as the servant of the king, like the ministers of George III.

Thiers was forty years of age when he became prime minister, although
for years he had been a conspicuous and influential member of the
Chamber of Deputies. Like Guizot he sprang from the people, his father
being an obscure locksmith in Marseilles. Like Guizot, he first became
distinguished as a writer for the "Constitutional," and afterward as
its editor. He was a brilliant and fluent speaker, at home on all
questions of the day, always equal to the occasion, yet without striking
originality or profundity of views. Like most men who have been the
architects of their own fortunes, he was vain and consequential. He was
liberal in his views, a friend of order and law, with aristocratic
tendencies. He was more warlike in his policy than suited either the
king or his rival Guizot, who had entered the cabinet with him on the
death of Casimir Perier. Nor was he a favorite with Louis Philippe, who
was always afraid that he would embroil the kingdom in war. Thiers'
political opinions were very much like those of Canning in later days.
His genius was versatile,--he wrote history in the midst of his
oratorical triumphs. His History of the French Revolution was by far the
ablest and most trustworthy that had yet appeared. The same may be said
of his History of the Consulate and of the Empire. He was a great
admirer of Napoleon, and did more than any other to perpetuate the
Emperor's fame. His labors were prodigious; he rose at four in the
morning, and wrote thirty or forty letters before breakfast. He was
equally remarkable as an administrator and as a statesman, examining all
the details of government, and leaving nothing to chance. No man in
France knew the condition of the country so well as Thiers, from both a
civil and a military point of view. He was overbearing in the Chamber of
Deputies, and hence was not popular with the members. He was prime
minister several times, but rarely for more than a few months at a time.
The king always got rid of him as soon as he could, and much preferred
Guizot, the high-priest of the Doctrinaires, whose policy was like that
of Lord Aberdeen in England,--peace at any price.

Nothing memorable happened during this short administration of Thiers
except the agitation produced by secret societies in Switzerland,
composed of refugees from all nations, who kept Europe in constant
alarm. There were the "Young Italy" Society, and the societies of "Young
Poland," "Young Germany," "Young France," and "Young Switzerland." The
cabinets of Europe took alarm, and Thiers brought matters to a crisis by
causing the French minister at Berne to intimate to the Swiss government
that unless these societies were suppressed all diplomatic intercourse
would cease between France and Switzerland,--which meant an armed
intervention. This question of the expulsion of political refugees drew
Metternich and Thiers into close connection. But a still more important
question, as to intervention in Spanish matters, brought about a
difference between the king and his minister, in consequence of which
the latter resigned.

Count Mole now took the premiership, retaining it for two years. He was
a grave, laborious, and thoughtful man, but without the genius,
eloquence, and versatility of Thiers. Mole belonged to an ancient and
noble family, and his splendid chateau was filled with historical
monuments. He had all the affability of manners which marked the man of
high birth, without their frivolity. One of the first acts of his
administration was the liberation of political prisoners, among whom was
the famous Prince Polignac, the prime minister of Charles X. The old
king himself died, about the same time, an exile in a foreign land. The
year 1836 was also signalized by the foolish and unsuccessful attempt of
Louis Napoleon, at Strasburg, to overthrow the government; but he was
humanely and leniently dealt with, suffering no greater punishment than
banishment to the United States for ten years. In the following year
occurred the marriage of the Duke of Orleans, heir to the throne, with a
German princess of the Lutheran faith, followed by magnificent
festivities. Soon after took place the inauguration of the palace of
Versailles as a museum of fine arts, which, as such, has remained to
this day; nor did Louis Napoleon in the height of his power venture to
use this ancient and magnificent residence of the kings of France for
any other purpose.

But the most important event in the administration of Count Mole was
the extension of the Algerian colony to the limits of the ancient
Libya,--so long the granary of imperial Rome, and which once could boast
of twenty millions of people. This occupation of African territory led
to the war in which the celebrated Arab chieftain, Abd-el-Kader, was the
hero. He was both priest and warrior, enjoying the unlimited confidence
of his countrymen; and by his cunning and knowledge of the country he
succeeded in maintaining himself for several years against the French
generals. His stronghold was Constantine, which was taken by storm in
October, 1837, by General Vallee. Still, the Arab chieftain found means
to defy his enemies; and it was not till 1841 that he was forced to flee
and seek protection from the Emperor of Morocco. The storming of
Constantine was a notable military exploit, and gave great prestige to
the government.

Louis Philippe was now firmly established on his throne, yet he had
narrowly escaped assassination four or five times. This taught him to be
cautious, and to realize the fact that no monarch can be safe amid the
plots of fanatics. He no longer walked the streets of Paris with an
umbrella under his arm, but enshrouded himself in the Tuileries with the
usual guards of Continental kings. His favorite residence was at St.
Cloud, at that time one of the most beautiful of the royal palaces
of Europe.

At this time the railway mania raged in France, as it did in England.
Foremost among those who undertook to manage the great corporations
which had established district railways, was Arago the astronomer, who,
although a zealous Republican, was ever listened to with respect in the
Chamber of Deputies. These railways indicated great material prosperity
in the nation at large, and the golden age of speculators and
capitalists set in,--all averse to war, all worshippers of money, all
for peace at any price. Morning, noon, and night the offices of bankers
and stock-jobbers were besieged by files of carriages and clamorous
crowds, even by ladies of rank, to purchase shares in companies which
were to make everybody's fortune, and which at one time had risen
fifteen hundred per cent, giving opportunities for boundless frauds.
Military glory for a time ceased to be a passion among the most
excitable and warlike people of Europe, and gave way to the more
absorbing passion for gain, and for the pleasures which money purchases.
Nor was it difficult, in this universal pursuit of sudden wealth, to
govern a nation whose rulers had the appointment of one hundred and
forty thousand civil officers and an army of four hundred thousand men.
Bribery and corruption kept pace with material prosperity. Never before
had officials been so generally and easily bribed. Indeed, the
government was built up on this miserable foundation. With bribery,
corruption, and sudden wealth, the most shameful immorality existed
everywhere. Out of every one thousand births, one third were
illegitimate. The theatres were disgraced by the most indecent plays.
Money and pleasure had become the gods of France, and Paris more than
ever before was the centre of luxury and social vice.

It was at this period of peace and tranquillity that Talleyrand died, on
the 17th of May, 1838, at eighty-two, after serving in his advanced age
Louis Philippe as ambassador at London. The Abbe Dupanloup, afterward
bishop of Orleans, administered the last services of his church to the
dying statesman. Talleyrand had, however, outlived his reputation, which
was at its height when he went to the Congress of Vienna in 1814. Though
he rendered great services to the different sovereigns whom he served,
he was too selfish and immoral to obtain a place in the hearts of the
nation. A man who had sworn fidelity to thirteen constitutions and
betrayed them all, could not be much mourned or regretted at his death.
His fame was built on witty sayings, elegant manners, and adroit
adaptation to changing circumstances, rather than on those solid merits
winch alone extort the respect of posterity.

The ministry of Count Mole was not eventful. It was marked chiefly for
the dissensions of political parties, troubles in Belgium, and
threatened insurrections, which alarmed the bourgeoisie. The king,
feeling the necessity for a still stronger government, recalled old
Marshal Soult to the head of affairs. Neither Thiers nor Guizot formed
part of Soult's cabinet, on account of their mutual jealousies and
undisguised ambition,--both aspiring to lead, and unwilling to accept
any office short of the premiership.

Another great man now came into public notice. This was Villemain, who
was made Minister of Public Instruction, a post which Guizot had
previously filled. Villemain was a peer of France, an aristocrat from
his connections with high society, but a liberal from his love of
popularity. He was one of the greatest writers of this period, both in
history and philosophy, and an advocate of Polish independence. Thiers
at this time was the recognized leader of the Left and Left Centre in
the Deputies, while his rival, Guizot, was the leader of the
Conservatives. Eastern affairs now assumed great prominence in the
Chamber of Deputies. Turkey was reduced to the last straits in
consequence of the victories of Ibrahim Pasha in Asia Minor; France and
England adhered to the policy of non-intervention, and the Sultan in his
despair was obliged to invoke the aid of his most dangerous ally,
Russia, who extorted as the price of his assistance the famous treaty of
Unkiar-Skelessi, which excluded all ships-of-war, except those of
Russia and Turkey, from the Black Sea, the effect of which was to make
it a Muscovite lake. England and France did not fully perceive their
mistake in thus throwing Turkey into the arms of Russia, by their
eagerness to maintain the _status quo_,--the policy of Austria. There
were, however, a few statesmen in the French Chamber of Deputies who
deplored the inaction of government. Among these was Lamartine, who made
a brilliant and powerful speech against an inglorious peace. This orator
was now in the height of his fame, and but for his excessive vanity and
sentimentalism might have reached the foremost rank in the national
councils. He was distinguished not only for eloquence, but for his
historical compositions, which are brilliant and suggestive, but rather
prolix and discursive.

Sir Archibald Alison seems to think that Lamartine cannot be numbered
among the great historians, since, like the classic historians of Greece
and Rome, he has not given authorities for his statements, and, unlike
German writers, disdains foot-notes as pedantic. But I observe that in
his "History of Europe" Alison quotes Lamartine oftener than any other
French writer, and evidently admires his genius, and throws no doubt on
the general fidelity of his works. A partisan historian full of
prejudices, like Macaulay, with all his prodigality of references, is
apt to be in reality more untruthful than a dispassionate writer without
any show of learning at all. The learning of an advocate may hide and
obscure truth as well as illustrate it. It is doubtless the custom of
historical writers generally to enrich, or burden, their works with all
the references they can find, to the delight of critics who glory in
dulness; but this, after all, may be a mere scholastic fashion.
Lamartine probably preferred to embody his learning in the text than
display it in foot-notes. Moreover, he did not write for critics, but
for the people; not for the few, but for the many. As a popular writer
his histories, like those of Voltaire, had an enormous sale. If he were
less rhetorical and discursive, his books, perhaps, would have more
merit. He fatigues by the redundancy of his richness and the length of
his sentences; and yet he is as candid and judicial as Hallam, and would
have had the credit of being so, had he only taken more pains to prove
his points by stating his authorities.

Next to the insolvable difficulties which attended the discussion of the
Eastern question,--whether Turkey should be suffered to crumble away
without the assistance of the Western Powers; whether Russia should be
driven back from the Black Sea or not,--the affairs of Africa excited
great interest in the Chambers. Algiers had been taken by French armies
under the Bourbons, and a colony had been founded in countries of great
natural fertility. It was now a question how far the French armies
should pursue their conquests in Africa, involving an immense
expenditure of men and money, in order to found a great colonial empire,
and gain military _eclat_, so necessary in France to give strength to
any government. But a new insurrection and confederation of the defeated
Arab tribes, marked by all the fanaticism of Moslem warriors, made it
necessary for the French to follow up their successes with all the vigor
possible. In consequence, an army of forty thousand infantry and twelve
thousand cavalry and artillery drove the Arabs, in 1840, to their
remotest fastnesses. The ablest advocate for war measures was Thiers;
and so formidable were his eloquence and influence in the Chambers, that
he was again called to the head of affairs, and his second
administration took place.

The rivalry and jealousy between this great statesman and Guizot would
not permit the latter to take a subordinate position, but he was
mollified by the appointment of ambassador to London. The prime minister
had a great majority to back him, and such was his ascendency that he
had all things his own way for a time, in spite of the king, whose
position was wittily set forth in a famous expression of Thiers, _Le Roi
regne, et ne gouverne pas_. Still, in spite of the liberal and
progressive views of Thiers, very little was done toward the
amelioration of the sufferings of the people, for whom, personally, he
cared but little. True, a bill was introduced into the Chambers which
reduced the hours of labor in the manufactories from twelve to eight
hours, and from sixteen hours to twelve, while it forbade the employment
of children under eight years of age in the mills; but this beneficent
measure, though carried in the Chamber of Peers, was defeated in the
lower house, made up of capitalists and parsimonious money-worshippers.

What excited the most interest in the short administration of Thiers,
was the removal of the bones of Napoleon from St. Helena to the banks of
the Seine, which he loved so well, and their deposition under the dome
of the Invalides,--the proudest monument of Louis Quatorze. Louis
Philippe sent his son the Prince de Joinville to superintend this
removal,--an act of magnanimity hard to be reconciled with his usual
astuteness and selfishness. He probably thought that his throne was so
firmly established that he could afford to please the enemies of his
house, and perhaps would gain popularity. But such a measure doubtless
kept alive the memory of the deeds of the great conqueror, and renewed
sentiments in the nation which in less than ten years afterward
facilitated the usurpation of his nephew. In fact, the bones of
Napoleon were scarcely removed to their present resting-place before
Louis Napoleon embarked upon his rash expedition at Boulogne, was taken
prisoner, and immured in the fortress of Ham, where he spent six years
in strict seclusion, conversing only with books, until he contrived to
escape to England.

The Eastern question again, under Thiers' administration, became the
great topic of conversation and public interest, and his military policy
came near embroiling France in war. So great was the public alarm that
the army was raised to four hundred thousand men, and measures were
taken to adopt a great system of fortifications around Paris. It was
far, however, from the wishes and policy of the king to be dragged into
war by an ambitious and restless minister. He accordingly summoned
Guizot from London to meet him privately at the Chateau d'Eu, in
Normandy, where the statesman fully expounded his conservative and
pacific policy. The result of this interview was the withdrawal of the
French forces in the Levant and the dismissal of Thiers, who had brought
the nation to the edge of war. His place was taken by Guizot, who
henceforth, with brief intervals, was the ruling spirit in the councils
of the king.

Guizot, on the whole, was the greatest name connected with the reign of
Louis Philippe, although his elevation to the premiership was long
delayed. In solid learning, political ability, and parliamentary
eloquence he had no equal, unless it were Thiers. He was a native of
Switzerland, and a Protestant; but all his tendencies were conservative.
He was cold and austere in manners and character. He had acquired
distinction in the two preceding reigns, both as a political writer for
the journals and as a historian. The extreme Left and the extreme Right
called him a "Doctrinaire," and he was never popular with either of
these parties. He greatly admired the English constitution and attempted
to steer a middle course, being the advocate of constitutional monarchy
surrounded with liberal institutions. Amid the fierce conflict of
parties which marked the reign of Louis Philippe, Guizot gradually
became more and more conservative, verging on absolutism. Hence he broke
with Lafayette, who was always ready to upset the throne when it
encroached on the liberties of the people. His policy was pacific, while
Thiers was always involving the nation in military schemes. In the
latter part of the reign of Louis Philippe, Guizot's views were not
dissimilar to those of the English Tories. His studies led him to detest
war as much as did Lord Aberdeen, and he was the invariable advocate of
peace. He was, like Thiers, an aristocrat at heart, although sprung from
the middle classes. He was simple in his habits and style of life, and
was greater as a philosopher than as a practical statesman amid popular

Guizot was the father of what is called philosophical history, and all
his historical writings show great research, accuracy, and breadth of
views. His temperament made him calm and unimpassioned, and his
knowledge made him profound. He was a great historical authority, like
Ranke, but was more admired fifty years ago than he is at the present
day, when dramatic writings like those of Motley and Froude have spoiled
ordinary readers for profundity allied with dulness. He resembles Hallam
more than Macaulay. But it is life rather than learning which gives
immortality to historians. It is the life and the individuality of
Gibbon which preserve his fame and popularity rather than his marvellous
learning. Voltaire lives for his style alone, the greatest of modern
historical artists. Better it is for the fame of a writer to have a
thousand faults with the single excellence of living power, than to have
no faults and no remarkable excellences. Guizot is deficient in life,
but is wonderful for research and philosophical deductions, and hence is
to be read by students rather than by the people. As a popular historian
he is inferior to Thiers, but superior to him in general learning.

Guizot became the favorite minister of Louis Philippe for his
conservative policy and his love of peace rather than for his personal
attractions. He was less independent than Thiers, and equally ambitious
of ruling, and was also more subservient to the king, supporting him in
measures which finally undermined his throne; but the purity of Guizot's
private life, in an age of corruption, secured for him more respect than
popularity, Mr. Fyffe in his late scholarly history sneers at him as a
sanctimonious old Puritan,--almost a hypocrite.

Guizot died before Thiers had won his greatest fame as the restorer of
law and order after the communistic riots which followed the siege of
Paris in 1871, when, as President of the Republic, he rendered
inestimable services to France. The great personal defect of Thiers was
vanity; that of Guizot was austerity: but both were men of transcendent
ability and unimpeached patriotism. With these two men began the mighty
power of the French Press in the formation of public opinion. With them
the reign of Louis Philippe was identified as much as that of Queen
Victoria for twenty years has been with Gladstone and Disraeli. Between
them the king "reigned" rather than "governed." This was the period when
statesmen began to monopolize the power of kings in Prussia and Austria
as well as in France and England. Russia alone of the great Powers was
ruled by the will of a royal autocrat. In constitutional monarchies
ministers enjoy the powers which were once given to the favorites of
royalty; they rise and fall with majorities in legislative assemblies.
In such a country as America the President is king, but only for a
limited period. He descends from a position of transcendent dignity to
the obscurity of private life. His ministers are his secretaries,
without influence, comparatively, in the halls of Congress,--neither
made nor unmade by the legislature, although dependent on the Senate for
confirmation, but once appointed, independent of both houses, and
responsible only to the irremovable Executive, who can defy even public
opinion, unless he aims at re-election, a unique government in the
political history of the world.

The year 1841 opened auspiciously for Louis Philippe. He was at the
summit of his power, and his throne seemed to be solidly cemented. All
the insurrections which had given him so much trouble were suppressed,
and the country was unusually prosperous. The enormous sum of
L85,000,000 had been expended in six years on railways, one quarter more
than England had spent. Population had increased over a million in ten
years, and the exports were L7,000,000 more than they were in 1830.
Paris was a city of shops and attractive boulevards.

The fortification of the capital continued to be an engrossing matter
with the ministry and legislature, and it was a question whether there
should be built a wall around the city, or a series of strong detached
forts. The latter found the most favor with military men, but the Press
denounced it as nothing less than a series of Bastiles to overawe the
city. The result was the adoption of both systems,--detached forts, each
capable of sustaining a siege and preventing an enemy from effectually
bombarding the city; and the _enceinte continuee_, which proved an
expensive _muraille d'octroi_. Had it not been for the detached forts,
with their two thousand pieces of cannon, Paris would have been unable
to sustain a siege in the Franco-Prussian war. The city must have
surrendered immediately when once invested, or have been destroyed; but
the distant forts prevented the Prussians from advancing near enough to
bombard the centre of the city.

The war in Algeria was also continued with great vigor by the government
of Guizot. It required sixty thousand troops to carry on the war, bring
the Arabs to terms, and capture their cunning and heroic chieftain
Abd-el-Kader, which was done at last, after a vast expenditure of money
and men. Among the commanders who conducted this African war were
Marshals Valee, Changarnier, Cavaignac, Canrobert, Bugeaud, St. Arnaud,
and Generals Lamoriciere, Bosquet, Pelissier. Of these Changarnier was
the most distinguished, although, from political reasons, he took no
part in the Crimean War. The result of the long contest, in which were
developed the talents of the generals who afterward gained under
Napoleon III. so much distinction, was the possession of a country
twelve hundred miles in length and three hundred in breadth, many parts
of which are exceedingly fertile, and capable of sustaining a large
population. As a colony, however, Algeria has not been a profitable
investment. It took eighteen years to subdue it, at a cost of one
billion francs, and the annual expense of maintaining it exceeds one
hundred million francs. The condition of colonists there has generally
been miserable; and while the imports in 1845 were one hundred million
francs, the exports were only about ten millions. The great importance
of the colony is as a school for war; it has no great material or
political value. The English never had over fifty thousand European
troops, aside from the native auxiliary army, to hold India in
subjection, with a population of nearly three hundred millions, whereas
it takes nearly one hundred thousand men to hold possession of a country
of less than two million natives. This fact, however, suggests the
immeasurable superiority of the Arabs over the inhabitants of India from
a military point of view.

The accidental death, in 1842, of the Due d'Orleans, heir to the
throne, was attended with important political consequences. He was a
favorite of the nation, and was both gifted and virtuous. His death left
a frail infant, the Comte de Paris, as heir to the throne, and led to
great disputes in the Chambers as to whom the regency should be
intrusted in case of the death of the king. Indeed, this sad calamity,
as it was felt by the nation, did much to shake the throne of
Louis Philippe.

The most important event during the ministry of Guizot, in view of its
consequences on the fortunes of Louis Philippe, was the Spanish
marriages. The Salic law prohibited the succession of females to the
throne of France, but the old laws of Spain permitted females as well as
males to reign. In consequence, it was always a matter of dynastic
ambition for the monarchs of Europe to marry their sons to those Spanish
princesses who possibly might become sovereign of Spain. But as such
marriages might result in the consolidation of powerful States, and thus
disturb the balance of power, they were generally opposed by other
countries, especially England. Indeed, the long and bloody war called
the War of Spanish Succession, in which Marlborough and Eugene were the
heroes, was waged with Louis XIV. to prevent the union of France and
Spain, as seemed probable when the bequest of the Spanish throne was
made to the Duc d'Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV., who had married a
Spanish princess. The victories of Marlborough and Eugene prevented this
union of the two most powerful monarchies of Europe at that time, and
the treaty of Utrecht permanently guarded against it. The title of the
Duc d'Anjou to the Spanish throne was recognized, but only on the
condition that he renounced for himself and his descendants all claim to
the French crown,--while the French monarch renounced on his part for
his descendants all claim to the Spanish throne, which was to descend,
against ancient usages, to the male heirs alone. The Spanish Cortes and
the Parliament of Paris ratified this treaty, and it became incorporated
with the public law of Europe.

Up to this time the relations between England and France had been most
friendly. Louis Philippe had visited Queen Victoria at Windsor, and the
Queen of England had returned the visit to the French king with great
pomp at his chateau d'Eu, in Normandy, where magnificent fetes followed.
Guizot and Lord Aberdeen, the English foreign minister, were also in
accord, both statesmen adopting a peace policy. This _entente cordiale_
between England and France had greatly strengthened the throne of Louis
Philippe, who thus had the moral support of England.

But this moral support was withdrawn when the king, in 1846, yielding to
ambition and dynastic interests, violated in substance the treaty of
Utrecht by marrying his son, the Duc de Montpensier, to the Infanta,
daughter of Christina the Queen of Spain, and second wife of Ferdinand
VII., the last of the Bourbon kings of Spain. Ferdinand left two
daughters by Queen Christina, but no son. By the Salic law his younger
brother Don Carlos was the legitimate heir to the throne; but his
ambitious wife, who controlled him, influenced him to alter the law of
succession, by which his eldest daughter became the heir. This bred a
civil war; but as Don Carlos was a bigot and tyrant, like all his
family, the liberal party in France and England brought all their
influence to secure the acknowledgment of the claims of Isabella, now
queen, under the regency of her mother Christina. But her younger
sister, the Infanta, was also a great matrimonial prize, since on the
failure of issue in case the young queen married, the Infanta would be
the heir to the crown. By the intrigues of Louis Philippe, aided by his
astute, able, but subservient minister Guizot, it was contrived to marry
the young queen to the Duke of Cadiz, one of the degenerate descendants
of Philip V., since no issue from the marriage was expected, in which
case the heir of the Infanta Donna Fernanda, married to the Duc de
Montpensier, would some day ascend the throne of Spain. The English
government, especially Lord Palmerston, who had succeeded Lord Aberdeen
as foreign secretary, was exceedingly indignant at this royal trick; for
Louis Philippe had distinctly promised Queen Victoria, when he
entertained her at his royal chateau in Normandy, that this marriage of
the Duc de Montpensier should not take place until Queen Isabella was
married and had children. Guizot also came in for a share of the
obloquy, and made a miserable defence. The result of the whole matter
was that the _entente cordiale_ between the governments of France and
England was broken,--a great misfortune to Louis Philippe; and the
English government was not only indignant in view of this insincerity,
treachery, and ambition on the part of the French king, but was
disappointed in not securing the hand of Queen Isabella for Prince
Leopold of Saxe-Coburg.

Meanwhile corruption became year by year more disgracefully flagrant. It
entered into every department of the government, and only by evident
corruption did the king retain his power. The eyes of the whole nation
were opened to his selfishness and grasping ambition to increase the
power and wealth of his family. In seven years a thousand million francs
had been added to the national debt. The government works being
completed, there was great distress among the laboring classes, and
government made no effort to relieve it. Consequently, there was an
increasing disaffection among the people, restrained from open violence
by a government becoming every day more despotic. Even the army was
alienated, having reaped nothing but barren laurels in Algeria.
Socialistic theories were openly discussed, and so able an historian as
Louis Blanc fanned the discontent. The Press grew more and more hostile,
seeing that the nation had been duped and mocked. But the most marked
feature of the times was excessive venality. "Talents, energy, and
eloquence," says Louis Blanc, "were alike devoted to making money. Even
literature and science were venal. All elevated sentiments were
forgotten in the brutal materialism which followed the thirst for gold."
The foundations of society were rapidly being undermined by dangerous
theories, and by general selfishness and luxury among the middle
classes. No reforms of importance took place. Even Guizot was as much
opposed to electoral extension as the Duke of Wellington. The king in
his old age became obstinate and callous, and would not listen to
advisers. The Prince de Joinville himself complained to his brother of
the inflexibility of his father. "His own will," said he, "must prevail
over everything. There are no longer any ministers. Everything rests
with the king."

Added to these evils, there was a failure of the potato crop and a
monetary crisis. The annual deficit was alarming. Loans were raised
with difficulty. No one came to the support of a throne which was felt
to be tottering. The liberal Press made the most of the difficulties to
fan the general discontent. It saw no remedy for increasing evils but in
parliamentary reform, and this, of course, was opposed by government.
The Chamber of Deputies, composed of rich men, had lost the confidence
of the nation. The clergy were irrevocably hostile to the government.
"Yes," said Lamartine, "a revolution is approaching; and it is a
revolution of contempt." The most alarming evil was the financial state
of the country. The expenses for the year 1847 were over fourteen
hundred millions, nearly four hundred millions above the receipts. Such
a state of things made loans necessary, which impaired the
national credit.

The universal discontent sought a vent in reform banquets, where
inflammatory speeches were made and reported. These banquets extended
over France, attended by a coalition of hostile parties, the chiefs of
which were Thiers, Odillon Barrot, De Tocqueville, Garnier-Pages,
Lamartine, and Ledru-Rollin, who pointed out the evils of the times. At
last, in 1848, the opposition resolved on a great banquet in Paris, to
defy the government. The radicals sounded the alarm in the newspapers.
Terror seized all classes, and public business was suspended, for
revolution was in the air Men said to one another, "They will be
fighting in the streets soon."

The place selected for the banquet was in one of the retired streets
leading out of the Champs Elysees,--a large open space enclosed by
walls capable of seating six thousand people at table. The proposed
banquet, however, was changed to a procession, extending from the Place
of the Bastille to the Madeleine. The National Guard were invited to
attend without their arms, but in uniform. The government was justly
alarmed, for no one could tell what would come of it, although the
liberal chiefs declared that nothing hostile was meant. Louis Blanc,
however,--socialist, historian, journalist, agitator, leader among the
working classes,--meant blood. The more moderate now began to fear that
a collision would take place between the people and the military, and
that they would all be put down or massacred. They were not prepared for
an issue which would be the logical effect of the procession, and at the
eleventh hour concluded to abandon it. The government, thinking that the
crisis was passed, settled into an unaccountable repose. There were only
twenty thousand regular troops in the city. There ought to have been
eighty thousand; but Guizot was not the man for the occasion.

Meanwhile the National Guard began to fraternize with the people. The
popular agitation increased every hour. Soon matters again became
serious. Barricades were erected. There was consternation at the
Tuileries. A cabinet council was hastily called, with the view of a
change of ministers, and Guizot retired from the helm. The crowd
thickened in the streets, with hostile intent, and an accidental shot
precipitated the battle between the military and the mob. Thiers was
hastily sent for at the palace, and arrived at midnight. He refused
office unless joined by the man the king most detested, Odillon Barrot.
Loath was Louis Philippe to accept this great opposition chief as
minister of the interior, but there was no alternative between him and
war. The command of the army was taken from Generals Sebastiani and
Jacqueminot, and given to Marshal Bugeaud, while General Lamoriciere
took the command of the National Guard.

The insurgents were not intimidated. They seized the churches, rang the
bells, sacked the gunsmith shops, and erected barricades. The old
marshal was now hampered by the Executive. He should have been made
dictator; but subordinate to the civil power, which was timid and
vacillating, he could not act with proper energy. Indeed, he had orders
not to fire, and his troops were too few and scattered to oppose the
surging mass. The Palais Royal was the first important place to be
abandoned, and its pictures and statues were scattered by the triumphant
mob. Then followed the attack on the Louvre and the Tuileries; then the
abdication of the king; and then his inglorious flight. The monarchy
had fallen.

Had Louis Philippe shown the courage and decision of his earlier years,
he might have preserved his throne. But he was now a timid old man, and
perhaps did not care to prolong his reign by massacre of his people. He
preferred dethronement and exile rather than see his capital deluged in
blood. Nor did he know whom to trust. Treachery and treason finished
what selfishness and hypocrisy had begun. Still, it is wonderful that he
preserved his power for eighteen years. He must have had great tact and
ability to have reigned so long amid the factions which divided France,
and which made a throne surrounded with republican institutions at that
time absurd and impossible.


Louis Blanc's Six Ans de Louis Philippe; Lamartine; Capefigue's
L'Histoire de Louis Philippe; Lives of Thiers and Guizot; Fyffe's Modern
Europe; Life of Lafayette; Annual Register; Mackenzie's Nineteenth
Century; Conversations with Thiers and Guizot.


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